Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti craft lo-fi recordings full of intrigue -- and full of contradictions. The Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Pink writes songs that are melodic, catchy, and familiar -- and in their own unorthodox way, recall the most immediate, accessible, straightforward FM pop/rock of the '70s and '80s. As a songwriter, Pink has a real sense of pop/rock craftsmanship, with influences ranging from David Bowie, John Lennon, the Bee Gees, Hall & Oates, and the Raspberries to Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, and late-'70s/early-'80s new wave. However, his very muddy way of producing and his oddball sound effects make his project sound highly eccentric. Pink recorded his first Haunted Graffiti project, The Doldrums, in 1999 and 2000; that disc was followed by Vital Pink a few years later. At first, The Doldrums and Vital Pink were only CD-Rs that Pink burned on his home computer and circulated himself, but in 2004 Pink landed a record deal with Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label, making him the first artist on the imprint who didn’t belong to that group. In October 2004, the label reissued The Doldrums, adding the Vital Pink material as well. Likewise, Worn Copy, which was originally issued by Rhystop in 2003, was reissued by Paw Tracks in 2005. The following year was a busy one for Ariel Pink, with House Arrest -- a collaboration with another one of his projects, Ball Bearings Piñatas -- arriving at the beginning of 2006. That year, Pink also collaborated with Matt Fishbeck on the Holy Shit album Stranded at Two Harbors and contributed to the Latitude series with Pedestrian Pop Hits. In 2007, Pink released Scared Famous, a collection of 2002 recordings, on Human Ear Music. By 2008, Pink had solidified his backing band to multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kenny Gilmore, drummer/vocalist/guitarist Jimi Hey, and guitarist Cole M. Greif-Neill; the bandmembers called themselves Haunted Graffiti and toured with Chairlift, the Vivian Girls, and Cryptacize. That year, Pink also released Unusual Animals, Vol. 3 with Half-Handed Cloud, a collaboration that was part of Asthmatic Kitty's limited-edition series. The following year, Pink signed to 4AD, which released the single Round & Round early in 2010. Before Today arrived that summer, revealing a more polished sound than any of Pink's previous work. In 2011, Pink released the 16-minute song "Witchhunt Suite for WWIII," which was previously featured on 2007's tour-only album YAS DuDette, as a single to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He also reteamed with R. Stevie Moore on the double album Ku Klux Glam, which appeared early in 2012. In August of that year, the third Haunted Graffiti album, Mature Themes, arrived, boasting a darker, more eclectic approach that spanned '60s bubblegum homages and a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson's 1979 soul-pop song "Baby." ~ Alex Henderson

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